McDade Recreational Trail – Pitman Orchard to Milford Beach
Directions to trailhead
I-80 to exit 34B (Jefferson/Sparta); follow Route 15 North for 18 miles then continue on Route 206 North for 16 miles. After crossing the toll bridge over the Delaware River, turn left on Route 209 (Federal Road). Drive 2 miles then turn left into the McDade Recreational Trail gravel parking lot along east side of Route 209. There is no sign but you will see an information board in the parking lot.
The McDade Recreational Trail is a multi-use trail for hiking, biking and cross-country skiing. Initially this 2.7-mile section of the trail and another unconnected 5-mile section farther south were the only parts completed and available for use. As if September 25, 2010, the entire McDade Recreational Trail is finished and interconnects continuously for 32 miles.
A short connector trail to the left of the information board in the parking lot takes you to the McDade Recreational Trail at Pitman Orchard. Turn left on the McDade Trail, which is more of a grass road through this area. Follow the trail through open farm fields in full sunlight. Even on a cool day it gets hot under the sun so plan accordingly. You will soon come to an old silo on the right, the only surviving structure from a fire that destroyed the Snyder Farm in 1950. To the left, cliffs, which are part of the eastern fringe of the Pocono Plateau, rise 400 feet up from the valley. If you hike the Cliff Park trails up above, these are the cliffs you will be walking along. The Cliff Park trails do not connect directly to the McDade Trail but can be reached by a short one-half mile drive.
At 0.8 mile you may hear buzzing. Having arrived at a side trail on the left for the Flying Hawks Model Airfield, you might be treated to the acrobatic aerial performances of radio-controlled airplanes overhead.
At 1.0 mile, receive a reprieve from the full sunlight as the trail starts to enter a wooded area. As the woods become thicker, trees drown out traffic noise from Route 209. At 1.8 miles keep right on the gravel trail at an intersection and follow the trail downhill.
Arrive at a clearing at 2.3 miles where the Route 206 bridge crosses overhead. As much as the mowed grass along the river bank beckons you to have a seat and take a break to watch the boats pass by, a sign facing the opposite direction on the trail asks that you stay on the trail and refrain from loitering in the grassy areas. It's a shame since this is the only unobstructed river view along this section of the trail.
Arrive at the Milford Beach parking lot at 2.5 miles where restroom facilities are available. You could have parked here to start the hike but this is a fee area as it is generally used for beach access (where dogs are not allowed) and boat launching.
As the northern terminus of the McDade trail is just a short distance farther along the parking lot, you have reached the turnaround point. Head back the way you came watching for the access trail to the parking lot on the right at 5.0 miles.
Click for links to trail maps. This same web page also has a link to the history along this section of the McDade Recreational Trail.
Date of hike: September 18, 2010
[ 0.0] Access trail to left on McDade Recreational Trail at Pitman Orchard
[ 0.8] Flying Hawks model airfield on left
[ 1.0] Trail starts to enter woods area.
[ 1.8] Keep right at intersection following trail downhill through the woods.
[ 2.3] Route 206 bridge over the Delaware River.
[ 2.5] Arrive at Milford Beach parking area with restroom. Turn around and retrace back to parking.
[ 2.7] Route 206 bridge over the Delaware River.
[ 3.2] Keep left at intersection at top of hill.
[ 4.2] Flying Hawks Model airfield on the right
[ 5.0] Arrive at access trail on right to parking lot